Most of the distracted driving accidents that took place in Montana and around the country over the last five years were caused by drivers who were daydreaming or lost in thought, according to a recent study from Erie Insurance. These findings contradict the prevailing narrative that the recent surge in distracted driving is largely due to cellphone use. Erie Insurance researchers produced their report, which was released at the beginning of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, after studying Fatality Analysis Reporting System data about accidents that claimed the lives of 172,000 road users.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's FARS database relies heavily on the reports filed by police officers who respond to motor vehicle accident scenes, and some experts believe that this means the problem of distracted driving is being underreported. This is because distraction leaves few clues for law enforcement, and a driver who has just caused an accident may not be eager to admit that he or she was not paying attention.